Question concerning Dog Recall and Excessive Dog Barking
"How can I train my GSD to come when called and to stop barking when someone comes to my door?
I don't mind him barking for a few minutes but not forever, he'll even bark when they leave.
I understand he is trying to protect us but if we let someone in the door he doesn't need to continue to bark. After that person has left he'll start barking at them again. Please help!!!!!"
Spelling has been corrected to suffice search engine requirements.
You mention two dog behavior problems there, yet both have one and the same CAUSE: a conflict in the Pack, a Pack conflict. Your dog clearly is thinking (s)he is the boss in situations:
- when you call your dog
- and when you have guests.
Then likely in more situations too, but let's focus on what you asked.
Although I can't know about other situations as you only mentioned these two, almost certainly there will be situations where your dog accepts you as the boss.
Hence why I said it's a Pack conflict:
- Overall, your dog is unsure who is leading his Pack (your family members).
- This leads to stress for the dog
- and that stress leads to "dog behavior problems"
- and a bit later to health problems too.
- These then will affect your bank account
- and all of a sudden you have stress too.
Without going into the detail of our Periodicals again, here's the best solution to your misery: Get House Training Dogs To Behave Well from the dollar shop. Because there's everything inside that you need! And a lot more that maybe presently you don't need. But soon.
So what do you need in your present situation?
In this order:
You need to establish yourself (and every family member!) as accepted Pack leader for your dog. The means are in this meaningful book. Do NOT confuse accepted Pack leader with the forced-upon Pack leader that you see when you walk your dog on roads like Cesar's Way or bigger ones. Accepted Pack leader is totally different. Why? Also explained in the meaningful book in the dollar shop.
To get your dog to come when called, you need to speak the same language. If your dog is a dog, you need to use dog language. Dog language is body language (this one is too good for the dollar shop). So you need to speak with your body, not your tongue: Behave in a way that motivates your dog to do what you want (here, to come when called). Remember point 1 above? Accepted Pack leader first, indeed. You're learning fast here - must have to do with this site.
Here is what I myself do: I "run" away (pretended quick steps). Because this motivates my dog to come and follow me immediately. What motivates your dog, you have to find out. But if you display the same egoistic attitude towards your dog that you displayed here with your post ("Please help!!!!!") then likely your dog will feel much less motivated by you than I do. Behave well, before you expect people and animals to behave well with you too.
To get your dog to stop barking when you have guests, again you need a bit more than be your dog's accepted Pack leader: When you open your main door or when you walk through any door, always keep your dog behind you. And initially, when your dog storms in front, you leave the door closed and first briefly isolate your dog when guests arrive. Brief isolation works so well because domesticated dogs genetically crave to be with their human Pack members. Thus this works even when you are not yet the accepted Pack leader.
Here is what I myself do: When I have to answer the door and the dog runs in front, I stop on the spot, I point my finger to the dog's Westpaw nap mat (his bedding), and I freeze. I wait until the dog feels motivated to do what I want.
So that with all this waiting you don't miss say, the postman ringing the door bell, initially you may want to stage some fake neighbor visits or whatever. I just accepted that initially the dog didn't go all the way back to his Westpaw nap mat, but he certainly had to stay behind me before I even open the door.
These three points will solve both your present dog problems.
By the way, a barking dog is not "trying to protect" you - that is a common and much-loved misperception. Dogs don't bark to protect, dogs bark to demonstrate their dominance over a Pup, Person, Possession, or Territory (PPPT). Here, dominance over you.
Hence why I started off at the top with the need to establish yourself - and every family member(!) - as accepted Pack leader. This is the holy grail of a pleasant dog-human relationship. I mean pleasant for both, dog and owner. While the TV-show-popular forced-upon Pack leadership is only pleasant for the dog owner and only for a short time: The resulting problems are everything but pleasant for the dog owner. Hence why dog owners like you seek our help - and for free.
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